Daily Archives: 1 Jan 2019

It’s Zwingli’s Day, So He Gets the Last Word

And its a word concerning one Clichtove, Bishop of Chartres, France whom he calls “a theologian taking the Sacred Writings in hand like a donkey running a solemn ceremony.”

There are a lot of Clichtove’s about now.  A lot.

John Goldingay’s ‘Isaiah for Everyone’ – Free

It’s this month’s free book from Logos.  Get it.

Today With Zwingli: Rumormongering Catabaptists

zwingli9093On 12 February, 1526, Zwingli wrote this letter to the folk at Appenzell

“Grace and peace from God to you, respected, honoured, wise, clement, gracious and beloved Masters: An exceedingly unfortunate affair has happened to me, in that I have been publicly accused before your worships of having reviled you in unseemly words and, be it said with all respect, of having called you heretics, my gracious rulers of the State. I am so far from applying this name to you, that I should as soon think of calling heaven hell. For all my life I have thought and spoken of you in terms of praise and honour, gentlemen of Abtzell, as I do to-day, and, as God favours me, shall do to the end of my days.

But it happened not long ago when I was preaching against the Catabaptists that I used these words: ‘The Catabaptists are now doing so much mischief to the upright citizens of Abtzell and are showing so great insolence, that nothing could be more infamous.’ You see, gentle sirs, with what modesty I grieved on your account, because the turbulent Catabaptists caused you so much trouble.

Indeed I suspect that the Catabaptists are the very people who have set this sermon against me in circulation among you, for they do many of those things which do not become true Christians. Therefore, gentle and wise sirs, I beg most earnestly that you will have me exculpated before the whole community, and, if occasion arise, that you will have this letter read in public assembly. Sir, I assure you in the name of God our Saviour, in these perilous times you have never been out of my thoughts and my solicitous anxiety; and if in any way I shall be able to serve you I will spare no pains to do so.

In addition to the fact that I never use such terms even against my enemies, let me say that it never entered my mind to apply such insulting epithets to you, pious and wise sirs. Sufficient of this. May God preserve you in safety, and may He put a curb on these unbridled falsehoods which are being scattered everywhere, which is an evidence of some great peril—and may He hold your worships and the whole state in the true faith of Christ! Take this letter of mine in good part, for I could not suffer that so base a falsehood against me should lie uncontradicted.”*

*S. Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. 250–251).

Signs of the Times: The Zwingli Anniversary Edition

Question: How Do You Prove that You are Guilty of Bibliolatry?


Call For Submissions

Send along your suggestions for the Biblical Studies Carnival.  It’s going to be neat!  And yes, it’s the official Carnival for January (posting 1 February, 2019).

Jerry Falwell Confesses Trump is his lord, in His Own Words, with his own Mouth

A Blast From the Past: The 1984 Celebration of Zwingli’s 500th Birthday

With thanks to Pat Graham of Emory for this lovely gift-

Zwingli’s Books

From Brill’s facebook page-

Today marks the 500th anniversary of the Swiss Reformation, ignited by the theologian Huldrych Zwingli. On 1 January 1519, Zwingli began to preach at the Grossmünster Church in Zurich. Zwingli was an avid reader, who during his lifetime amassed an impressive library. More than 200 books from his library, often heavily annotated, have been catalogued by Urs Leu and Sandra Weidmann in “Huldrych Zwingli’s Private Library”. Together, they open the door to Zwingli’s study and to the intellectual world of a highly influential reformer.

Happy New Year; may it be filled with many books!


On Zwingli’s Birthday- A Film

For your viewing pleasure-

Things Zwingli Wrote that You Should Read, And a Random Map


Zwingli Assumed the Pastorate of the Great Minster on 1 January, 1519


But his name wasn’t the only one in consideration…

Strong as was the sentiment in Zurich in favor of Zwingli, there were not wanting those who from the start opposed his election. A personality so aggressive could not fail to make enemies.

Many hated him because of his views on the subject of foreign pensions; others whose sympathies were thoroughly Roman suspected his loyalty to the Church, and caught a faint vision of what his coming to Zurich would mean.

The opposition, though bitter and determined, because of the fewness of their numbers despaired from the start of accomplishing anything. As soon as it was known that Zwingli was under consideration several candidates were put forward for the place, and among them one Lawrence Fable, who preached a sermon in the Great Minster, and of whom the report was circulated that he had been chosen.

Zwingli at first was inclined to credit the report. Hitherto he had appeared quite indifferent to what was occurring at Zurich. The knowledge that unworthy persons were seeking to supplant him seems to have acted as a stimulus. At any rate, he now became interested to the extent of writing to Myconius in regard to his prospects. In a letter under date of December 2, 1518, assuming the truthfulness of the report with respect to Fable, he says,

“Well! I know the significance of popular applause. A Swabian preferred to a Swiss! Truly, a prophet is without honor in his own country.”

Myconius in reply the next day removes his false apprehension. “Fable will remain a fable; for they have learned that he is father of six boys and holds I know not how many livings.”  He then proceeds to assure him of the number and strength of his friends, and of his own unceasing activity in his behalf. He does not conceal from him the doings of his enemies, and mentions certain charges that were being circulated against his character.

“Although there is no one,” he says, “but praises your teachings to the skies, there are certain to whom your natural aptitude for music appears to be a sin, and thence infer that you are impure and worldly,” Again, he assures him that he has great reason to hope. “It is right that you should take courage and not despair. Even the canons who are opposed to you predict to themselves that you will be the next preacher.”

He closes with the exhortation, “Hope on, for I hope.” The election took place on the 11th of December, 1518, and Zwingli was chosen by a large majority. This event caused great rejoicing among his friends, except those at Einsiedeln, for whom it was a matter of the keenest regret.

The administrator of the Abbey, Baron Geroldseck, whose relationship with Zwingli had ripened into the warmest of friendships, was especially affected. Even the council of the canton were impressed to the extent of transmitting to Zwingli a letter of regret couched in the most respectful terms.*

Swabians… seriously?

*Samuel Simpson, Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (New York: Baker & Taylor Co., 1902), 71–73.

Read Some of Zwingli’s Letters on His Birthday

Karl Barth Riding the Coat-tails of Zwingli

Barth, never one willing to play second fiddle and never satisfied with being second-rate, he just had to have his own ‘Year’ and it just had to be in 2019 when we were already observing the Zwingli-Year.

“Das Leben ist kein Theater, es will unsere Teilnahme, wir müssen seinen Wert herausarbeiten, oder wir ersterben in Langeweile. Es ist schon dafür gesorgt, daß uns Vieles entgeht, aber wir sollen wach sein.” (Karl Barth, Predigten 1915, GA I.27, 538). Zum Karl-Barth-Jahr 2019 gibt es ab sofort jede Woche am Dienstag ein Zitat des Theologen als Impuls für die Woche. Aktuelles zum Jubiläum findet ist hier zu lesen: www.karl-barth-jahr.eu   Auf ein gutes Neues Jahr 2019!

Oh Karl, no matter how hard you try, you will never be Zwingli (or Luther, or Calvin, or even Brunner for that matter).


A New Volume for the Barthians

Karl Barth: Bilder und Dokumente aus seinem Leben. From our friends at TVZ. I’m very confident it is something that will interest Karl’s friends.

Why Zwingli Still Matters

Reformiert has a great little essay today highlighting the abiding significance of Zwingli in this, the anniversary of his birth, the 500th anniversary of his assuming leadership of the Zurich church, and the kick off of the year long celebration of that anniversary.  Give it a read.

Theology of the Old Testament

From V&R.

Michaela Bauks zeichnet in diesem Lehrbuch zur Theologie des Alten Testaments die impliziten theologischen Konzepte des Alten Testaments nach. Altorientalische Traditionen, literargeschichtliche Entwicklungen und bibelhermeneutische Überlegungen werden behandelt, auch die kirchliche und schulische Praxis wird eigens berücksichtigt.

Das Lehrbuch präsentiert die zentralen theologischen Themen der hebräischen Bibel in der Reihenfolge der gegebenen Grundformen. Zur Erzählung, zum Recht, zur Prophetie, zum Kult und zur Weisheit finden Interessierte bei Bauks die zentralen Informationen. Im Kern geht es Bauks um die verschiedenartigen Offenbarungsformen Gottes gegenüber den Menschen und seinem Volk. Neben literargeschichtlichen Aspekten und innerbiblischer Entwicklungslinien finden daher auch die traditionsgeschichtlichen Parallelen und altorientalische Traditionen Berücksichtigung.

Im Detail werden die Themenkreise Monotheismus, Götterbild, Gottesname, Gottes Königtum, Eschatologie und Geschick Israels verhandelt. Anhand dieser Themenbereiche wird die Gottesvorstellung der hebräischen Bibel systematisch vertieft.

Der Bezugsrahmen der „Heiligen Schrift“ wird von Bauks kanonhermeneutisch und biblisch-theologisch reflektiert und umrissen.

Insgesamt finde sich in diesem Buch damit alles, was man fürs Studium braucht: 

das Wichtigste über theologische Konzepte, altorientalische Traditionen, literargeschichtliche Entwicklungen sowie Impulse zur Hermeneutik des Alten Testaments.

This uniquely organized volume is comprised of three major divisions:

  1. Introduction
  2. Theological Themes in their Biblical Contexts
  3. Old Testament Theology as Polyphonic Speech of God

It also contains two appendices and the usual indices and listing of illustrations.  The very first sentence of the introduction describes the volume’s purpose:

Dieses Buch ist ein Lehrbuch, das die zentralen theologischen Themen des Alten Testaments/der hebräischen Bibel zusammenstellt.

Fulfilling that task, our author leads readers into the majestic vistas which comprise the Hebrew Bible.  But this is done in such a way that the pedagogical needs of Professors and students are central.  For instance, one of the tables included shows, in a quite useful way, the variety of approaches to the study of the Hebrew Bible:

Armed with this material, readers are able to trace the various ways in which the Bible can be studied and appreciated.

Another useful aspect of the volume is the inclusion of quite thorough and up to date bibliographies at the conclusion of each chapter.  For example, in part, after the discussion of the Psalms, we find

English entries are also included when deemed appropriate by the author.

There’s something else that’s unique about this volume and that’s its interest in the inclusion of the Old Testament in the preaching of the Church.  To that end, one of the appendices, Anhang 1: Alttestamentliche Themen und Texte in der Perikopenordnung, by Jochen Wagner, offers an outline of the Church year with appropriate readings for the Liturgical Calendar:

The second appendix provides religious education teachers an outline for a course in Old Testament.

In sum, this volume has an eye to the needs of the Professor, the student, the preacher, and the teacher.  It does a superb job in presenting the themes found in the Old Testament and explaining those themes in a clear and helpful way.  It is utterly enjoyable and thoroughly instructive.  I recommend it.

Ulrich Zwingli: Prophet, Ketzer, Pionier des Protestantismus

9783290178284Peter Opitz’s new book was sent along by TVZ some time back.  First of all, concerning the author, it isn’t necessary to say this but I will nonetheless just in case some readers are unfamiliar with the work of Opitz: there are very few scholars in the field of Reformation History who have his grasp of primary sources and secondary materials related to Calvin, Zwingli, and Bullinger.  Put more plainly, he knows the subject of this volume.

Second, concerning the volume, Opitz guides readers through four major aspects of Zwingli’s life and thought: his beginning as a Reformer;  Zwingli and the Reformation of Zurich; Zwingli and the Reformation of the Confederation; and Zwingli as a Protestant Pioneer.

Following the chronology of Zwingli’s life, Opitz, in around 120 pages, instructs readers as to the contributions of Zwingli to the Church and to the Reformation of Switzerland and further afield.  Opitz provides ample citations from Zwingli himself, thereby bolstering his argument and the publisher illustrates the volume with really lovely contemporary (and nearly contemporary) artwork.  For instance, here are a few of the illustrations that are included in the volume:


The most valuable, and necessary, part of the volume is Opitz’s treatment of the question of Zwingli and the re-baptizers. Here Opitz undermines the various myths and legends associated with Zwingli’s attitude towards and treatment of the members of this movement. I describe it as the most valuable and necessary because this is one of the areas where there’s so much misinformation constantly repeated that a correction is indispensable.

The fact that Opitz rightly grasps Zwingli’s significance is made most apparent when he writes

Es gibt keinen theologischen Gedanken Calvins, der nicht zuvor schon in der Zwinglischen Reformation diskutiert worden wäre. Sowohl historisch als theologisch ist Zwingli, nicht Calvin, der Urvater des reformierten Protestantismus (p. 110).

And again

Präsent ist Zwinglis Denken nicht nur im Presbyterianismus und in der Mennonitischen Theologie, sondern auch im Anklikanismus und im Methodismus (p. 111).

Zwingli is the unrecognized and unacknowledged and thus unappreciated fount of the theology of many Christian strands of thought to the very present. Opitz reminds us of that fact if we have forgotten it and teaches it to us if we have never learned it.

In terms of style, Opitz is a very fine communicator who writes with fluidity and congruency. Thought flows to thought with hardly any disruptions or intrusions of non-essential rabbit chasings.

Finally, the volume has one further very positive aspect: it debunks the nonsense spewed by Karl Barth about Zwingli in his lectures on the great man. Persons familiar with those lectures will find here in Opitz’s little book the perfect antidote to Barthian misprision. Barth may have found Zwingli an insurmountable Himalaya, but Opitz knows better and spaces Zwingli in the proper context of his time and place.

This is a magnificent book. I enjoyed it from the first page through the brief bibliography at its conclusion. I can only recommend it but were it possible, I would command it to be read. Especially by the Barthians and the misinformed Lutherans who, rather than bothering with Zwingli himself, instead bow the knee to the Baal of Barth and Luther and parrot their partisan viewpoints.

When it comes to Zwingli, Opitz is better informed than Barth and Luther, combined.

Tolle, lege.

Zwingli, Zwingli, Zwingli…

Because many know little of him-

On Zwingli’s Birthday: 24 Treatises

Nr. 1 Das Fabelgedicht vom Ochsen (lat.), (Herbst 1510)
Nr. 2 Das Fabelgedicht vom Ochsen (dt.), (Herbst 1510)
Nr. 3 De gestis inter Gallos et Helvetios relatio, (Herbst 1512)
Nr. 4 Der Labyrinth, (Frühjahr 1516)
Nr. 5 Gebetslied in der Pest, (Ende 1519)
Nr. 6 Zeugenaussage zu den Soldverträgen mit dem Ausland, 1521
Nr. 7 Predigtworte zu den Soldverträgen mit dem Ausland, 1521
Nr. 8 Von Erkiesen und Freiheit der Speisen, 16. April 1522
Nr. 9 Acta Tiguri 7. 8. 9. diebus aprilis 1522, (April 1522)
Nr. 10 Eine göttliche Vermahnung an die Eidgenossen zu Schwyz, 16. Mai 1522
Nr. 11 Supplicatio ad Hugonem episcopum Constantiensem, 2. Juli 1522
Nr. 12 Eine freundliche Bitte und Ermahnung an die Eidgenossen, 13. Juli 1522
Nr. 13 Apologeticus Archeteles, 22./23. August 1522
Nr. 14 Von Klarheit und Gewißheit des Wortes Gottes, 6. September 1522
Nr. 15 Eine Predigt von der ewig reinen Magd Maria, 17. September 1522
Nr. 16 Suggestio deliberandi super propositione Hadriani Nerobergae facta, (November) 1522
Nr. 17i Aktenstücke zur ersten Zürcher Disputation: I. Die 67 Artikel Zwinglis
Nr. 17ii Aktenstücke zur ersten Zürcher Disputation: II. Das Ausschreiben der Disputation
Nr. 17iii Aktenstücke zur ersten Zürcher Disputation: III. Der Abschied der Disputation
Nr. 18 Handlung der Versammlung in der Stadt Zürich auf den 29. Januar 1523 (Erste Zürcher Disputation), 3. März 1523
Nr. 19 Entschuldigung etlicher Zwingli unwahrlich zugelegter Artikel, 3. Juli 1523]]

Nr. 20 Auslegen und Gründe der Schlußreden, 14. Juli 1523
Nr. 21 Von göttlicher und menschlicher Gerechtigkeit, 30. Juli 1523
Nr. 22 Quo pacto ingenui adolescentes formandi sint, 1. August 1523
Nr. 23 De canone missae epichiresis, 29. August 1523
Nr. 24 Vortrag zur Reformation des Stifts, (September) 1523